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Sony Zeiss f/4 E-Mount zoom shoot out

Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f4 FE on the Sony A7 and the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f4 on the Sony A6000. As my third camera is infrared converted you can see deeper into the lenses than normal.

2015 Update: While I no longer own the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 FE, Sony replaced the optical block in my 17-70mm f/4 so now the 16-70mm f/4 images at 24mm, 35mm and 50mm have been reshot, on a different but similar clear sunny day.

The short story is the (fixed) 16-70mm f/4 is everything I hoped it would be, while the 24-70mm f/4 FE was sold.

It may be apples to oranges, yet an interesting taste test as both cameras are 24mp and the zooms cover very similar focal ranges. When applicable I'm also comparing the Sony 10-18mm f4 and 16-50mm pz kit lens. All shot on a tripod, AF-S on the barn and electronic front shutter curtan on. OSS off and no lens corrections on, although Sony applies some CA removal to the raw files. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw with matching white balance. Overall I was surprised how much more purple the A7 renders while the A6000 favors green.

The general internet feel for the 24-70mm f4 FE is that it's stunning in the center but lacking in the corners at 24mm and doesn't improve by stopping down. My real world use confirms this, it's a stunning lens from 30-60mm, a rather narrow range. From all I've read the Sony 16-70mm f4 is more loved but suffers from quality control issues, often having a soft corner.

The whole scene at 16mm f/4. Interesting how the A7 sensor looks considerably different than the A6000 with all of them set to Daylight WB in ACR.
  • 10-18 f4
  • 16-50 f4
  • html5 slider
  • 24-70 f4
10-18 f41 16-50 f42 16-70 f43 24-70 f44
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Center crops from each at f/4.

I find the Sony 10-18mm and Sony Zeiss 16-70mm remarkably similar, the PZ 16-50 notably softer and the acuity on the 24-70 FE highest. It appears Sony took the PZ strategy with the 24-70 FE, making it wider than the marked focal length and then cropping to alleviate the heavy vignetting. I'd like to continue with the slides, but WowSlider is not keen on allowing more than one slideshow on a page due to errors in their coding. So I'm going to keep it simple.

All lenses near the center at 16mm f/4.

16mm once again. Corners cropped to make things fair as the PZ 16-50 and FE 24-70 crop when lens correction is applied.

Well both the Sony Zeiss lenses outperform their plain Sony counterparts, not surprising with the $350 16-50PZ but a surprise with the $850 10-18mm. Same can be said on the right edge, cropped area highlighted.

On the right edge performance follows price, although the two Sony Zeiss zooms are quite close in performance.

On to f/5.6

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